The Hour Before Dawn
- Author: Bhabendra Nath Saikia
- Publisher: Penguin Books India
- ISBN: 9780143063858
When Menoka’s dissolute husband Mohikanto takes a second wife she is devastated by the heedless manner in which he squanders her unquestioning loyalty. But after the initial anguish she finds new strength—in her womanhood when she embraces a tender but illicit relationship with a village outcast; in her role as a fiercely protective mother; and, eventually, in a compassionate humanity towards her frail and battered co-wife and needy stepchildren. The story also poignantly explores Menoka’s troubled but ultimately redemptive relationship with Indro, her first-born son, who is unwittingly exposed to a bewildering world of adult complexities and feels compelled to leave the village. Translated from the original Assamese novel Antoreep by renowned writer and film-maker Bhabendra Nath Saikia, The Hour before Dawn is set primarily in pre-Independence India and vividly reflects the intensely verdant life of a small village in Assam. This is a haunting story of conjugal betrayal and retribution, a woman’s hidden strength in her darkest hour and the unforeseen bonds that develop between unlikely people in unexpected circumstances.